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Direct  Democracy  Initiative

AN ACT reaffirming the inherent political power of “We, the People” under the Constitution of the United States and establishing procedures and an administrative organization for the direct legislative use of that power by initiative; and adding to the Federal Code.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES:

Section 1. TITLE. 

This act shall be known and may be cited as the Direct Democracy Initiative.

Section 2.  PREAMBLE. 

We, the People of the United States of America, inherently possess the sovereign power to govern ourselves. We asserted this power in our Declaration of Independence and exercised it in the ratification of our Constitution.

We, the People, choose to engage directly in the collective self-governance acts of legislating policies, laws, and amendments. Heretofore, by action of the Framers of our Constitution, we delegated elements of our political power to elected representatives and their appointees for its application in the legislative, executive and judicial functions of government. In this age of technology, to limit the use of our political power only to its delegation is unnecessary and unwarranted.

We, the People, choose to exercise our legislative power directly through the use of the initiative procedures and the ministerial institution herein established, together with the exercise of the political power we delegate to our elected representatives in every government jurisdiction of the United States.

THEREFORE, We, the People, citizens of the United States, exercising our constituent political power, enact this Direct Democracy Initiative as federal law.

Section 3.  INITIATIVE DEMOCRACY. 

This Direct Democracy Initiative is enacted by We, the People, in an initiative process similar to that employed in the ratification of the United States Constitution. Our authority to enact this Direct Democracy Initiative in a similar manner herein defined emanates from:

A.  The POLITICAL sovereignty of “WE, THE PEOPLE.”

As stated in the Declaration of Independence and in the Preamble of the United States Constitution and clearly implied in Amendments IX and X of the Bill of Rights, We, the People, are sovereign to the governments we establish.

B.  HISTORIC precedent.

When drafted in 1787 in Philadelphia, the constitutional document, which proposed to create a new federal government, did not have the force of law. The document contained a self-enactment procedure in Article VII that specified direct ratification by We, the People, thereby making the Constitution the law of the land. Similarly, in the absence of federal electoral procedures, this Direct Democracy Initiative contains a self-enactment procedure in Section 7, whereby We, the People, enact this Direct Democracy Initiative as federal law.

Section 4.  PROCEDURES.

Initiative procedures, effectively establishing the electorate as a “Legislature of the People,” shall include, but are not limited to, the following:

A.  FORMAT AND SUBJECT. 

An initiative shall be composed of a title, a “short title” which shall accurately describe the initiative’s contents, a preamble in which the reasons for the initiative shall be stated, and the complete text representing what the initiative proposes. An initiative shall pertain to matters of public policy relevant to the political jurisdiction to which it is addressed. An initiative shall address only one subject, but may include related or mutually dependent parts. Initiative sponsors shall determine the text of the initiative, the title, and the “short title.”

B.  WORD LIMIT. 

No initiative, excluding its preamble and language that repeats existing law, may contain more than five thousand words.

C.  QUALIFICATION. 

An initiative may qualify for election in the relevant jurisdiction by any one of the following methods:

     (1) Legislative Resolution.  The legislative body of the relevant jurisdiction (federal, state or local) may approve an initiative submitted by its sponsors for an election.

     (2) Citizen Petition.  Initiatives that propose laws, changes to laws, or expressions of public policy shall qualify for election if a petition is signed by a number of registered voters within the appropriate jurisdiction equal to at least two percent of those voting in the last presidential election. Initiaitves that propose changes to constitutions or charters shall qualify for election if a petition is signed by a number of registered voters within the appropriate jurisdiction equal to at least five percent of the number voting in the last presidential election. The time period allotted to gather qualifying petition signatures shall not exceed two years.

     (3) Public Opinion Poll. Initiatives that propose constitutions, charters or laws; or changes to constitutions, charters or laws; or expressions of public policy shall qualify to have an election if at least fifty percent of the respondents in an acceptable public opinion poll express
their willingness that the initiative be voted upon. Poll respondents must be qualified as registered voters within the relevant jurisdiction. To qualify by this method, initiatives, when filed with the Electoral Trust, Section 5. Below, shall be accompanied by a complete polling plan. The poll questionnaire shall be reviewed to determine its relevance with respect to the subject of the initiative and the balanced nature of its wording. The Electoral Trust must approve the polling plan and the organization that will conduct the poll prior to the official poll.

D.  PUBLIC HEARING. 

The Electoral Trust, after an initiative qualifies for election, shall require and/or conduct public hearings in conjunction with the sponsors and the legislative body of the relevant jurisdiction. The testimony of ordinary citizens, proponents, opponents and experts shall be solicited on the initiative.

E.  DELIBERATIVE COMMITTEES

The Electoral Trust shall organize and convene a committee for each initiative of randomly selected ordinary citizens from the relevant jurisdiction. The committee shall review the transcript of the hearings, deliberate the merits of the initiative, and prepare a written report of its deliberations and recommendations.  The committee can amend the text of the initiative by two-thirds vote so long as the amendments are consistent with the explicit purposes and intent of the initiative.

F.  LEGISLATIVE ADVISORY VOTE. 

An initiative with the hearing record and the deliberative committee report shall be transmitted to the legislative body of the relevant jurisdiction. The legislative body shall conduct a public roll-call vote on the initiative within ninety days. The vote of the legislative body is non-binding and serves as a recommendation to the citizens of their jurisdiction.

G.  ENACTMENT OF INITIATIVES.

An initiative is enacted and assumes the force of law or a statement of public policy if approved by more than half of the registered voters voting in an election scheduled and subsequently validated by the Electoral Trust. Initiatives that modify constitutions or charters shall require affirmation by a simple majority in two elections separated by at least six months. An initiative that fails in either election cannot be reconsidered without re-qualification under Section 4. C. An initiative that receives more than fifty percent of the votes in the first election shall be scheduled for a final vote in a subsequent election.

H.  LEGISLATIVE ACTION ON INITIATIVE LAWS. 

To amend or change any policy or law enacted by initiative during the first two years following the initiative’s effective date, the legislative body of the relevant jurisdiction shall require a two-thirds vote of its members. Thereafter, a simple majority may modify a policy statement or law enacted by initiative.

I.  JUDICIAL REVIEW. 

Courts shall exercise judicial restraint, except in the case of fraud, with respect to initiatives prior to a decision by the people in an election. However, after the people have enacted an initiative into law, the courts, when requested, shall determine the constitutionality of any initiative law. Initiatives that change the Constitution of the United States, absent fraud, are not subject to judicial review.

J.  EFFECTIVE DATE. 

The effective date of an initiative, if not specified in the initiative, shall be forty-five days after its approval by the voters.

K.  SPONSORS AND PROPONENTS. 

The names of those persons, their organizational affiliations, if appropriate, or the names of the organization, their chief executive or chief policy officer, their addresses and telephone numbers, registered as initiative sponsors or deemed by the Electoral Trust to be sponsors shall appear on the face of the initiative, the petition, and on any printed matter advocating the initiative, and shall be conspicuously announced or displayed in any poll or broadcast media.

L.  OPPONENTS. 

The names of those persons, their organizational affiliations, if appropriate, or the names of those organizations, their chief executive or chief policy officers, their addresses and telephone numbers, deemed by the Electoral Trust to be significant opponents of an initiative, shall appear on the face of any printed matter regarding the initiative, and shall be conspicuously announced or displayed in any broadcast media.

M.  CAMPAIGN FUNDING. 

It is the intent of this law that only persons are entitled to contribute funds or property in support of, or in opposition to, an initiative. Contributions from corporations, industry groups, labor unions, political action committees (PACs), and associations are specifically prohibited. Such entities are prohibited from coercing employees, stockholders, clients, customers, or members to contribute funds in support of, or in opposition to, an initiative. The making of or the inducement of others to make a prohibited contribution is a felony, punishable by one year in prison or a fine not to exceed one hundred thousand dollars, or both, per instance, applied to each person found guilty of the violation. The recipient of the contribution in violation of the law shall forfeit to the relevant government the amount in violation.

N.  DISCLOSURE REPORTING. 

A disclosure report by the sponsor shall be filed with the Electoral Trust along with an initiative. Subsequently, sponsors and opponents shall file disclosure reports every sixty days
during the period prior to the initiative’s election. Final reports shall be filed fifteen days prior to the date of the election after which no additional funds may be contributed or debts incurred. The reports shall identify sponsors, proponents and opponents who have donated in excess of one hundred dollars, and detail both current and deferred contributions and expenditures. The identification of donors shall include name, address, duration at the address, phone number, employment, relevant organizational affiliations, and the amount donated. All reports, when filed, shall be made public. Failure to file a report on its due date or the willful filing of false information shall be a felony punishable by one year in prison or a fine not to exceed one hundred thousand dollars, or both, per instance, applied personally to each person who is found guilty of the violation.

O.  PUBLIC INFORMATION. 

The Electoral Trust shall provide at public expense information about the initiative within the relevant jurisdiction.  The Trust shall prepare an information pamphlet for each qualified initiative with a balanced pro and con analysis of the subject, its implications, as well as its expected economic impact, and statements by proponents and opponents. The pamphlet shall include the report of the deliberative committee and the roll call of the advisory vote taken by the legislative body of the relevant jurisdiction. The pamphlet shall be published on the Electoral Trust’s web page or some equivalent universally accessible medium. The pamphlet shall be mailed in sufficient time to reach voters at least fifteen days prior to the election of an initiative.  The information in the pamphlet shall be summarized and conspicuously published in newspapers of general circulation in the relevant jurisdiction at least once during the fifteen-day period prior to the election.  Similarly, the information contained in the pamphlet shall be produced as video and radio programs to be aired during the same fifteen-day period, on television and radio stations licensed to broadcast in the relevant jurisdiction.

SECTION 5.  ELECTORAL TRUST.

The Electoral Trust is hereby established to administer the Direct Democracy Initiative. It is authorized to perform its ministerial tasks in every government jurisdiction of the United States. A Board of Trustees and a Director shall govern the Electoral Trust.

A.  MISSION.

The Electoral Trust shall implement this Direct Democracy Initiative so as to enable We, the People, to exercise our legislative political power by: 

     (1)  Registering.  Voter registration shall be made as simple and automatic as possible, with the goal of universal lifetime registration of eligible voting-age citizens.

     (2)  Being Informed.  Fair and balanced information on all initiatives qualified for election shall be presented to voters in the relevant jurisdictions in English that is easy for all citizens to understand.

     (3)  Voting.  The act of voting shall be made as convenient and as easy as possible for all citizens registered to vote, including the non-reading, disabled, hospitalized, home-bound, and indigent.

B.  TRUSTEES.

The Board of Trustees shall be composed of the Secretary of State or the elected official charged with the conduct of elections of all the States and the Director. The Board shall establish and oversee the policies for the operation of the Electoral Trust, shall draw up bylaws and procedures to govern the Board’s activities, and shall establish the compensation of the Director. The Board shall meet at least once a year and may, from its number, appoint an executive committee to meet more frequently.

C.  DIRECTOR. 

The Director shall be appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by a majority vote of the Trustees. The Director shall serve for a term of four years and may be re-appointed for an additional four years. No person shall serve more than eight years, consecutively or in separate terms. The first Director of the Electoral Trust appointed hereby for the first term, shall be the President of Philadelphia II, a California nonprofit corporation. The Director shall serve as Chair of the Board of Trustees and shall be responsible to the Board for the day-to-day operations of the Electoral Trust and the implementation of the Direct Democracy Initiative.  

D.  Oath or affirmation of office.

Each of the Trustees and the Director, and every senior staff member shall execute the following oath of office as a condition to their service:

"I, (name), (swear or affirm) that I shall defend and uphold to the best of my ability the Constitution of the United States and the sovereign right of the people of the United States in the exercise of their legislative power.”

E.  ORGANIZATION AND RESPONSIBILITIES.

The Electoral Trust shall organize itself to fulfill its mission by developing policies, procedures, and regulations to process initiatives and administer initiative elections. It may select and contract for working facilities, hire staff, and prescribe their duties and compensation. The Electoral Trust may apply for and receive funds, incur debt when necessary, and act in a responsible manner as any independent fiduciary agency.

     (1) Existing Law. In fulfilling its duties, the Electoral Trust shall follow the appropriate laws and regulations of the United States that do not conflict with its mission. In every jurisdiction a law that is in conflict with this Act is superseded by this Act.

     (2) Voter Registration.  The Electoral Trust shall develop simplified, voter registration procedures and requirements aimed at universal lifetime registration, which shall be usable in every government jurisdiction where the voter is a legal resident. While voter registration lists shall be a matter of public record, a person’s personal data, including voting history, shall be private.

     (3) Legislative Drafting Service.  The Electoral Trust shall establish and operate a research and legislative drafting service for the use of citizens seeking assistance in preparing initiatives.

     (4) Hearings and Deliberative Committees. The Electoral Trust shall organize hearings to receive testimony and convene deliberative committees to deliberate on qualified initiatives.  The Electoral Trust shall supply hearing officers and deliberation counselors to manage the procedural requirements of hearings and committee meetings.

     (5) Public Information Service.  The Electoral Trust shall develop the means, procedures and regulations to facilitate the communication of timely, fair, balanced, and pertinent information on the subject of initiatives to be conveyed to the voters of relevant jurisdictions by all efficient media.

     (6) Electoral Integrity. The Electoral Trust shall develop the means, procedures and regulations to guarantee the integrity of elections. This shall include but need not be limited to the Electoral Trust’s monitoring of initiative election campaigns and expenditures to see that public opinion is not improperly influenced.

     (7) Voting Methods.  The Electoral Trust shall take advantage of contemporary technology in developing voting procedures for national, state and local initiative elections to facilitate citizen participation.  

F.  APPROPRIATIONS.

There are hereby appropriated from the treasury of the United States to the Electoral Trust sums necessary for the Trust to organize itself and begin the performance of its duties, pursuant to Article I, Section 9(7) of the United States Constitution. There is are also hereby appropriated sums to repay loans incurred by Philadelphia II, a non-profit 501 C-4 public benefit corporation organized under the laws of the State of California, that are certified by the Electoral Trust as bona fide loans whose proceeds were used to pay the cost of producing, printing and broadcasting communications to inform the people about this Direct Democracy Initiative, and the cost of printing and distributing Enactment Ballots in the conduct of a national “constituent power” election. Hereafter, appropriations shall be made to the Electoral Trust as an independent agency of the United States Government.

Section 6.  ENACTMENT BALLOT. 

DIRECT DEMOCRACY INITIATIVE

ENACTMENT BALLOT

(Please print or enter your name as you are registered to vote.)
 Last Name:_____________________________ First Name:___________________ MI:_____ 

 Street:_________________________________ City:_______________________ Zip:_______

                  Phone: (_____) ______-______________ Email:_____________________________________

                  I certify that I am a registered voter of _______________________________________ County 
                  in the State of _____________________________.

 
Having received a copy of the Direct Democracy Initiative and understanding its contents, I HEREBY VOTE TO ENACT THE DIRECT DEMOCRACY INITIATIVE AS A FEDERAL LAW.
I understand that I may change my vote at anytime prior to the certification of the results of this election by calling: 1-800-000-0000 or Email: mmmmmmm.

 Date: _________________                                                ___________________________________                                                                                                    Signature of Registered Voter

Section 7.  SELF-ENACTMENT. 

This Direct Democracy Initiative measure shall be presented to the United States electorate by direct contact, mail, print media, and/or the Internet, and voted upon by executing the ballot form in Section 6.  When the number of ballots executed by registered voters and received by Philadelphia II is greater than fifty percent of the total number of ballots cast in the last presidential election just prior to certification, this Act shall become a federal law effective on the date of certification by the President of Philadelphia II to the President of the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate. Should this Direct Democracy Initiative fail to receive a sufficient number of ballots to qualify it for enactment within seven years of the date Philadelphia II commences formal balloting, this balloting process is terminated.

Go directly to the Philadelphia Two web site for much more information by  clicking below:

www.PhiladelphiaTwo.org

updated October 2000

 

 


 

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful
 committed citizens can change the world:
indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.

- Margaret Mead